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How many days can I safely skip taking Atripla with no consequences?
Oct 24, 2010

Hello, I'm a 42 yo woman living in the UK. I've been diagnosed HIV+ in October 2009, and started Atripla immediately. A year on, I've got from CD4 127 to 194 and VL undetectable from 86,500. Thankfully the treatment is supplied free of charge under NHS (National Health Service) to UK legal residents, every three months. However, this month the company contracted to deliver the treatment at home has failed to deliver on two consecutive occasions without much reason being given and I have now just 4 pills left. I am worried that I will be forced to interrupt the treatment because of the delays in delivery date. I am not taking any other medication. What could happen worst if I stop for a few days the treatment if it will not be available to me? How many days can I safely skip taking the pill without building up resistance? Is it just one - two days maximum? Would you recommend me to buy Atripla via the internet to avoid stopping the treatment, rather than risk building up resistance? I am getting so paranoid that the regular supply of my medicines will be stopped one day and that HIV will take over again...Please advise! Many thanks. Best Regards,

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Hopefully you have gotten your meds by now. Within a few days after stopping one can begin to see the viral load begin to increase. In almost all cases just restarting the meds will result in the viral load going back to undetectable. Sometimes though, resistance can develop, particularly to the efavirenz in the atripla. That would likely become apparent after restarting and failure to achieve and undetectable viral load. In such cases a resistance test is indicated to determine whether the virus has developed resistance to any of the drugs in atripla.



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